Good day, regular readers and guests of the blog! Today there will be a fundamental article, as I will talk about the sources of a terrible disease that you all know well.
People often ask me: “Explain what is the main cause of diabetes in adults? Are there any differences in the cause of diabetes in men and women? ”
I really hope that with this material I will answer all your urgent questions regarding the basics of the formation of a “sweet” disease.
The main causes of diabetes in adults
For centuries, it was believed that type 2 diabetes is a disease of the rich due to the widespread obesity among them. But lately, diabetes mellitus has been increasingly registered in developing countries, as well as among people with low incomes. Women suffer from diabetes more often than men and have slightly different signs.
Diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial disease and there are a lot of sources causing this ailment. In people of different ages, the etiology of “sugar” disease may be different. Since the article is about the causes of diabetes in adults, I will only talk about them. And we will talk about the children some time next.
An interesting fact is that diabetes is completely absent or is extremely rare among the inhabitants of Micronesia, East Africa, South America, the indigenous inhabitants of the north. Thus, it can be assumed that the increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes is associated with the peculiarities of lifestyle and the ongoing socio-economic changes.
The greatest risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 is observed in people of developing countries and ethnic minorities. Very often, diabetes arises from malnutrition, and the majority of people who don’t know what diabetes mellitus should be.
The following is a list of reasons that can lead to this terrible disease.
- Insulin resistance and overweight
- Autoimmune process and the production of antibodies against insulin and pancreatic beta cells
- Other endocrine diseases that occur with an increase in blood glucose (endocrinopathy)
- Pancreatic diseases
- Toxic damage to the pancreas
- Other genetic syndromes
Insulin resistance and overweight
So, in adults, the development of insulin resistance is most often the basis for diabetes, that is, the tissues of the body are not sensitive to the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. When a man or a woman has insulin resistance, then we are talking about type 2 diabetes.
Have you ever thought that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes around the world is steadily increasing and is taking the scale of the epidemic, or rather, already a pandemic? The share of type 2 diabetes among other forms of diabetes reaches 85-90%. And these are only registered cases of the disease.
It is assumed that in fact these patients more than 2 times more. This may be hidden diabetes, and people who are consciously not seeking medical care, with obvious signs of disease.
The mechanism for developing insulin insensitivity and type 2 diabetes is as follows:
Imagine for a moment that the receptor in tissues is a lock, and insulin is the key to it. Normally, the key is ideally suited to the lock, and, opening it, lets glucose into the cell – an important source of energy in our body.
With a genetic defect, this receptor lock is modified, and the insulin key does not fit it. Accordingly, glucose cannot enter the cell and remains in the blood. Hence the diabetes clinic. In my article “The first signs of diabetes mellitus regardless of the type,” I talk in detail about them, so I highly recommend reading this article.
The picture below shows a schematic mechanism for glucose uptake in the body. (Click to enlarge pictures)
Autoimmune process and the production of antibodies against insulin and pancreatic beta cells
When the autoimmune process occurs, the production of antibodies against the same pancreas occurs, as a result, the working cells die and insulin becomes low. When the cells remain critical, the first symptoms of diabetes begin to appear. Such diabetes in adults is called LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults). I will tell you in more detail in the following articles, so subscribe to blog updates not to miss.
The launch of the synthesis of antibodies against the tissues of the native organism is caused by many factors. Very often this:
- past viral infections
- gluten and casein intolerance
- prolonged stress
- fungal infections
- chronic foci of infection
It is also possible the formation of antibodies not only to beta-cells and insulin, but also to the insulin receptor on the cells of the whole organism.
In some endocrine diseases, glucose levels may increase and even real diabetes mellitus may develop. This is due to the imbalance of hormones in these diseases. Quite often, diabetes develops with:
- increased thyroid function (thyrotoxicosis)
- in Itsenko-Cushing syndrome (tumor of the cortical layer of the adrenal glands)
- for pituitary tumors (acromegaly)
- with glucogonome (pancreatic tumor from alpha cells producing glucagon)
- with pheochromocytoma (adrenal medulla)
- with aldosteroma (tumors of the cortical layer of the adrenal glands)
- with somatostatin (somatostatin producing tumor)
Perhaps you know that the pancreas has two functions: endocrine and exocrine. The exocrine function is to provide the body with digestive enzymes. So when initially affected, this section of the gland can simultaneously develop diabetes. These diseases include:
- pancreatitis (acute or chronic)
- gland trauma and resection
- gland tumor
- fibrosis (replacement of active gland tissue with connective tissue)
- hemochromatosis (damage by excess iron)
- calculous pancreatopathy (stones in the ducts)
Toxic damage to the pancreas
The pancreas is a very delicate organ and does not like aggressive action, although it is restored rather quickly if suitable conditions are created for this. In our modern life there is a huge amount of chemicals that we consume with food, medicines, by chance or for other reasons. Below I give a list of substances that may be the causes of diabetes in adults.
- means for breeding rats and mice – vakor (rat poison)
- pentamidine (antiparasitic drug)
- a nicotinic acid
- thyroid hormones
- adrenal hormones
- diazoxide (drug with high blood pressure)
- thiazides (hypothiazide)
- alpha-blockers (drugs for the treatment of hypertension and prostate problems)
- alpha interferon
- anticonvulsant drugs (dilantin, phenytoin)
Other genetic syndromes
There are some genetic syndromes that are associated with diabetes, but are not the true causes. Below I give a list of which syndromes diabetes can be acquired.
- Down syndrome
- Kleinfelter syndrome
- Shereshevsky-Turner syndrome
- tungsten syndrome
- Lawrence-Moon-Barde-Beadle syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Chorea Huntington
- myotonic dystrophy
Special causes of diabetes in women
As I said above, women more often than men suffer from diabetes. And it is directly related to the female cycle and female sex hormones. Diabetes affects mostly beautiful women at a serious age, somewhere after 45 years. By this time, most women manage to gain a few extra pounds, which opens the door for diabetes.
In addition, currently there is an increase in early menopause and menopause does not occur at 50-55 years old, but earlier. This factor accelerates weight gain, aggravating problems with carbohydrate metabolism. And by the age of 60, excess weight leads to insulin resistance and an increase in insulin levels in the blood, and this in turn directly leads to type 2 diabetes.
Among the etiology of diabetes in young women, up to 30 years or a little bit beyond, the autoimmune mechanism prevails. Rarely, when a woman under 30 years of age has symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
Perhaps you know that the fair sex is more likely to be affected by autoimmune diseases than men, so they often have an autoimmune type of diabetes. Of course, women get diabetes with a different etiology, but still type 2 diabetes comes first, leaving behind all other types and types.
Some sources of diabetes in men
In men, as well as in women, diabetes mellitus type 2 comes first, which is acquired due to overweight and insulin insensitivity. Only if a woman with overweight does not always have diabetes, then for men it happens almost always. And all because of the representatives of the stronger sex fatty tissue deposition in the vast majority on the stomach, and this fat is especially metabolically active and necessarily leads to insulin insensitivity.
You’ve probably heard that apple-like obesity is a factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, men need to keep an eye on body weight, especially when the threshold of 60-70 years is overcome.
Among other causes of diabetes in men prevails, oddly enough, pancreatitis due to alcohol intake. Alcohol, as the cause of diabetes, is not common, but this must always be remembered. Quite often, lovers drink strong drinks, abuse them and get pancreatitis first, and then diabetes. Such a source of diabetes is more common in younger men, sometime after 40 years.
Autoimmune type of diabetes in men also occurs, but much less frequently than in women. Most often it occurs up to 30 years. Other sources of the formation of problems with carbohydrate exchange are very rare and do not differ in frequency from women.
At this point I want to finish my article. I am sure that you have understood complex terms and concepts. If you have questions – ask in the comments. Share this article with your friends by clicking the buttons of your favorite social network.
With warmth and care, endocrinologist Lebedeva Dilyara Ilgizovna